Originally appears in the Summer 2009 issue
Have you ever thought about visiting the home communities of the students who come to your outdoor center? I was lucky enough to be part of a group from my program that set off to discover the issues relevant in the home communities of our students and to view firsthand the impacts of our program on the students that visit us. In late November 2005, nine of us set off on bicycles from our mainland office in north Los Angeles. Destination: Phoenix, Arizona, via San Diego. We were a team representing the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program (CELP), a residential environmental education program located on Santa Catalina Island, California. Our trip lasted 14 days, during which we covered over 600 miles, consumed 420 meals, made presentations to over 720 kids at 8 schools, fixed 13 flat tires, and consumed and handed out over 1,100 energy bars and over 1,300 vitamin drink packets as sponsored alternatives to junk food snacks and sodas.
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Courtney Howard is a former instructor, leadership coordinator and program coordinator for the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program (CELP) and Catalina Island Camps. He currently lives in Hobart, Australia, on the island of Tasmania. CELP is a a program run by Catalina Island Camps in collaboration with Jean Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society.